Program Description

The Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents and survivors of certain Veterans. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits.

General Program Requirements

You must be a son, daughter, or spouse of a:

  • A Veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability. The disability must arise out of active service in the armed forces.
  • A Veteran who died from any cause while such permanent and total service-connected disability was in existence.
  • A Servicemember missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force.
  • A Servicemember forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
  • A Servicemember who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability. This change is effective Dec. 23, 2006.
Reservists and National Guard members who are activated for Federal service OR who die/become disabled while on training status are considered Veterans.

Commissioned Officers of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are considered to be active duty members and Veterans, once discharged.

Educational and Vocational assessment and counseling (Chapter 36) is available upon request for DEA participants through VA's Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.

Application Process

To complete an application, use VA Form 22-5490, "Dependents' Application for VA Educational Benefits." You can also complete the application online on VA's eBenefits web site.

Program Contact Information

For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Education and Training page.

If you have questions:

  • Visit the GI Bill customer service page, to search Frequently Asked Questions or ask a question electronically
  • Call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551)
  • For TDD/TYY use 711

To apply for additional benefits and view your benefit status, open an eBenefits Premium account. eBenefits is a one-stop source for information on Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and services. With a free Premium level eBenefits account, Veterans, Servicemembers and their family members can conduct self-service transactions such as checking claim status information, GI Bill enrollment, and obtaining copies of civil service preference letters, DD214, and other personal information. For further information and to register for a free Premium level account, visit the eBenefits website.